Two Grade 1s On Day 3 of Cheltenham Live Blog

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TwinSpires Staff

March 13th, 2014

The last two are tricky and I haven’t exactly acquitted myself well today but let’s see if we can tab a winner and turn things around,

The Fifth is Byrne Group Plate, a Grade 3 Handicap Chase going 2 miles and 5 furlongs.

#2 JOHN’S SPIRIT is no stranger to big race wins and is reportedly doing well. Best of all, he is a square price. #5 THIRD INTENTION is one to include. He’s consistent and the addition of headgear might move him up.  #4 TAP NIGHT is USA bred (by Pleasant Tap out of a Dayjur mare) and looks well-weighted. Today’s softer conditions may not suit as well as the fast ground of the past two days but I’m using.

The Sixth race is the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase for Amateur Riders going 3 1/16-miles.

I’ll try three again. #13 BALNASLOW looks like he might be sitting on a big race. #1 ROBERTO GOLDBACK needs a bit of a form reversal but is interesting at the price. #8 CAUSE OF CAUSES (by Dynaformer) is among the favorites but with good reason – he looks to be rounding into form as well.

Back tomorrow for Gold Cup day, and the bonus pool on Friday will be on exactas, NOT the Omni!

Queen Mother Day yesterday delivered one of the best stories of Cheltenham '14 with the father and son team of Gary and Jamie Moore (flat fans know Jamie’s brother, Ryan) winning the big one.

The owner’s story is even better--per Sean Clancy’s Cheltenham blog “Cheltenham radio featured the Preston Family and Friends Ltd., owners, who put cash in an account to celebrate their father’s 50-year-old birthday--he always talked about buying a horse--the money bought the Queen Mother winner. Dreams.” Dreams, indeed! Great stuff.

We’re going to take a different approach to the blog today, as it will be put up in two parts only while my editor goes minivan shopping. This first entry will cover the first four races of the day. We got some good momentum going yesterday after a blah day one – let’s see if we can keep things rolling here on day three

Race 1 is the JLT Novices’ Chase, a Grade 1 going 2 miles and 4 furlongs. #3 FELIX YOUNGER will get his preferred ground today for the all-world connections of Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins (there’s no direct American analogue but maybe Todd Pletcher and Johnny V?). We’ll put our OMNI streak on the line by including #10 WONDERFUL CHARM and #12 VUKOVAR

Race 2 is the Printemps Network Final, a handicap hurdle going 3 miles, and it’s a bit inscrutable. I’ll try two from the potent Phillip Hobbs yard -- #11 IF IN DOUBT and #23 JOSIES ORDERS.

Race 3 is the Ryanair Chase, a Grade 1 going 2 miles and 5 furlongs. Essentially a race for horses stuck between the speed of the Champion Chase and the test of stamina that is the Gold Cup. #1 AL FEROF looks the pick based on class, local success, and the cutback. American jump racing fans will notice the appearance of Hunt Ball here, who campaigned in the states last season without success. For OMNI purposes, #2 BENEFFICIENT and #5 DYNASTE.

The 4th and featured is the World Hurdle, a Grade 1 going 3 miles, and the race sets up to be great sport, a battle between the old warrior Big Buck’s, attempting to win this race an insane fifth time, and the well-fancied mare Annie Power, unbeaten in ten lifetime starts. We’ll go another way and try MORE OF THAT. He’s short on experience but long on talent and looks like he’ll relish the trip. With all the attention surrounding the two at the top of the market, he looks to be a good price.